It has been an eventful month, but not in the way I would have liked – on my bike.
The first couple of weeks, I was trying to slowly build up my strength and distance after my knee operation, and it was going well. Then the winter frosts began. It would be a gross understatement to say it was too cold to go for a long ride starting in the morning, so our rides were only afternoon rides getting back before the dew froze in the early evening. The days are lovely, but the short rides frustrated me, it was only to get worse. It’s no wonder I like to go away cycle touring in the Northern Hemisphere in our winter.
I had to go to Christchurch for my post - operative appointment – that was two days out of my days off written off, but I found out some interesting news – that I have been trying to walk around for two years with a fracture (and other injuries) in my knee – not just a cartilage tear. That explains why I have had trouble walking and standing, but could ride my bike without any problems.
I thought I could make up the lost exercise the next week. Little did I realise that plan would go up in smoke by having an encounter with a Pig.
|After encountering a pig on the road in the dark.|
I was riding home from work in temperatures hovering around zero. It was pitch dark. Now this is in the country-side, there is no overhead lighting, when it is dark – it is very dark, there wasn’t even a moon. My bike light admittedly was pointing on to the road in front of my bike wheel instead of up ahead, as my battery was running low, and I could see better that way; when this shape appeared about 1 ½ meters in front of my wheel, my brain registered that it was a full grown pig standing in the middle of the road ½ a second before I slammed into it.
I was lying on the ground in incredible pain in the pitch dark as my light was now shining into the heavens, and I wondered if the pig was hurt. I didn’t know where it was, was it still beside me? Had it run away when I hit it? Had it rolled onto the grass road edge angry and ready to bite me? I had no idea.
As soon as the pain became bearable I tried to push the bike off of me – it took several goes as everything hurt. Then I had to stand up – very difficult as both arms where in severe pain and one knee felt like it was grazed and the other knee had only had an operation not long ago. My left ankle hurt like hell and my right shoe was falling apart as it had scraped along the road.
As I was walking my bike home, I realized that another week of exercise had just been written off.
After a trip to Accident and Emergency the next morning, I had a broken finger on my left hand, and a graze with a hole down to the bone on my right elbow, bruises galore on my left leg and a graze on my right knee. I asked Niel in desperation if he would get the tandem out of the garage, check it over and go for a ride with me (on the back) – I could turn my legs without having to use my arms.
Our tandem is quite old (1980’s) and we don’t use it very much. Back in the 80’s tandems were all the same geometry, with the assumption that the man in front was bigger than the girl behind. I am bigger than Niel, so he has his saddle virtually sitting on the frame and mine is on its highest setting possible. He wrestles with the front and I feel cramped on the back.
The other reason we don’t use it very often, is that our cycling styles are so different. He likes to ride off the saddle a lot, I don’t at all. He likes to push big gears and I like to spin smaller gears. He rides in the crap on the extreme left and I like to ride on or beside the white line on the side of the road. The person on the back is stuck in the leg speed and way of riding of the person in front, and I cannot stop pedaling to relieve the pressure on my backside.
We have worked out that he can lift his butt off the saddle while I stay seated, and I have to yell out when I want to stop peddling to relieve my rear end. It is amazing how fast we go up hill with him in control, and the double leg power is quite a buzz.
So while my elbow was recovering, and in between days of persistant rain (which makes a change from the frosts), we went tandeming.
I am better now and riding my own bike again, catching up on kilometers. Actually we are seriously reconsidering our intentions for next year, instead of the Paris / Brest / Paris, we are now keen to do the Trans Am or the unsupported race across America, no help or support is allowed, everything you need you carry with you, as oppossed to the Race Across America where everything possible is done for you - all you do is ride nonstop.
|Niel on the west bank and I am on the east side of the Motueka river on a frosty winters day.|